Celebrity Revenge Dresses That Stunned The World

There is nothing better than running into your ex while looking your absolute best. The term "revenge dress" dates back to 1994, when Princess Diana showed up to a party in a sultry, daring black dress with the knowledge that her husband Prince Charles had cheated on her. Once this became public, news outlets dubbed her ensemble as the "revenge dress." Since then, many have used revenge dresses as an empowering way to make an ex realize what they've lost. The term has become so widespread that it has even been referenced in media such as Taylor Swift's song "Vigilante S***," with the lyric: "Lately, I've been dressing for revenge."

Over the years, many have redefined the term "revenge dress," which doesn't have to be a dress per se but can fall under the umbrella of dressing bold and sexy, typically after a breakup. However, a revenge dress is not exclusive to romantic relationships –- some of the outfits mentioned below were statements that the wearer was embracing their independence, confidence, and success while looking their best. Revenge dresses serve as a reminder that you are resilient and beautiful, which is something everyone needs after going through hard times. Let's take a look at some of the ultimate revenge dress moments that we absolutely cannot get enough of.

Bella Hadid at the 2016 Victoria's Secret fashion show

Bella Hadid gave us one of the most jaw-dropping revenge dresses ever after her breakup with The Weeknd in November 2016, one of many splits throughout their on-again/off-again relationship. Later that month, the Victoria's Secret Angel walked the runway at the 2016 Victoria's Secret fashion show wearing a sexy purple-gray lace teddy with matching chiffon sleeves and an attached chiffon train while the Weeknd performed his hit song "Starboy" among the models. When she approached him, the two locked eyes for a moment. The photo of the encounter became so popular that it basically became a meme. In revenge dress terms, it really doesn't get much better than that, though Hadid wasn't quite done.

The model had another revenge dress moment with The Weeknd the following year when she sported a sparkly form-fitting Alexander Wang bodysuit at the Met Gala. The body suit hugged her curves in all the right places and featured a low-cut back, adding even more drama to the look. Although the Weeknd attended the event with Selena Gomez as his date (it was the public debut of the new couple), Bella showed up unbothered and made sure to serve another fierce revenge dress moment. Rumors about a rekindling of their romance have been widespread since The Weeknd and Gomez called it quits, but the pair are reportedly just friends these days.

Jennifer Lopez at the 2021 Venice Film Festival

After her relationship with former baseball star Alex Rodriguez came to an end amid rumors that he had cheated (the official line from the couple was that they had decided they were "better as friends," per Reuters), singer and actor Jennifer Lopez debuted not only a sexy revenge dress, but a new romance with former fling Ben Affleck. They debuted their rekindled relationship on the red carpet at the 2021 Venice Film Festival and were absolutely dressed to the nines. J.Lo wore a white Georges Hobeika FW21 Couture dress with a jaw-dropping, diamond encrusted low-cut neckline.

"The gown was a red carpet showstopper," said The Zoe Report. "What was more distractingly beautiful than the stones on her dress, however, was how she and Ben Affleck gazed into each other's eyes." J. Lo's dress complimented her figure beautifully and may be one of her best looks yet. As for how they rekindled their romance, J.Lo. explained to Vogue that Affleck emailed her in 2021 to inform her that a magazine requested a quote on the singer and he only had good things to say about her. They kept in touch, and old feelings quickly resurfaced. "I always felt like there was a real love there, a true love there," Lopez said. "When we reconnected, those feelings for me were still very real."

Mariah Carey at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards

After her separation from music exec Tommy Mottola, Mariah Carey arrived at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards in a super sexy two-piece set. The outfit included a black bandeau top with a matching maxi skirt which featured high slits on each leg. Carey looked absolutely stunning in the set, which accentuated her figure beautifully. This fashion statement was so good that it even made the cut as one of her most iconic looks in her "Life in Looks" book by Vogue. "It's a tad revealing," she said of the look. "The slit is kinda major. It's there." She went on to say that she was "living for the moment," adding: "You can tell that I'm actually happy. It was a new moment. It was freedom."

The pop superstar has described Tommy Mottola (who she met when she was 18 years old and who is two decades her senior) as controlling, likening herself to a "child bride" during an interview with Cosmopolitan. "There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American, whatever that means, girl," she told the mag. "There was no ­freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner." Carey has since revealed that meeting and falling for baseball star Derek Jeter was the wake-up call she needed to get out, calling their fling the "catalyst" for her divorce in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Lady Gaga at the 2019 Grammy Awards

In 2019, Lady Gaga attended the Grammy Awards without her engagement ring or her fiancé, which sparked rumors (that turned out to be true) about her and talent agent Christian Carino going their separate ways. Gaga wore a sparkly Celine by Hedi Slimane gown to the star-studded ceremony. The metallic off-the-shoulder dress made for a very edgy yet sexy statement, featuring a high slit and a beautiful ruffle detail on her left sleeve. To top it all off, Gaga wore over 100 carats of diamonds in jewelry. But serving a sexy new look wasn't the only thing she did that night — she also left with three Grammys. Talk about the ultimate way to get back on top after a breakup.

This wasn't the first time the superstar went through a painful split. In her documentary "Gaga: Five Foot Two," the singer seemed to indicate that former fiancé Taylor Kinney became intimidated by her success, which led to more fighting, and ultimately their relationship's demise. Shortly after she landed a lead role alongside Bradley Cooper in "A Star Is Born," the couple decided to break off their engagement. "My love life has just imploded," she says in the documentary (via People), adding that past partners haven't been able to cope with her rise to the top. "It's like a turnover. This is the third time I've had my heart broken like this."

Selena Gomez at the 2015 Met Gala

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber's on-again/off-again romance lasted from 2010 until 2018, according to People. There were several break ups in that time, one of which took place in November 2014 – which gave Selena the perfect revenge dress opportunity at the upcoming 2015 Met Gala.

Although Gomez and Bieber attended the Met Gala separately, they still saw each other at the event. Gomez stunned in an elegant white satin Vera Wang gown, and she styled her hair with a beautiful updo complete with giant white orchids, giving her a very Frida Kahlo-inspired look. While grabbing Bieber's attention may not have been her intention, she most certainly did –- he commented on her look to TMZ. "Selena looked gorgeous at the Met ball," he shouted to the paparazzi as his car pulled away.

When she sat down with Vogue to take part in its "Life in Looks" series, Gomez revealed that the dress made her feel confident again after she had been struggling with some body image issues. "I fluctuate a lot with my weight, and I remember this night specifically, I didn't feel good about my body," she said. "So what was really amazing was that I actually got a chance to work on the dress that fit my body. I had such a beautiful time shaping this dress. I think that we came together and built something really beautiful and something that fit me really well."

Miley Cyrus in her Flowers music video

After her divorce from Liam Hemsworth, who she met in 2009 while making the movie "The Last Song," Miley Cyrus released the ultimate breakup song: "Flowers," which dropped on Hemsworth's birthday. The release date was likely no coincidence, and fans have speculated that there's also deeper meaning to the dresses the singer wears in the music video.

Throughout the video, Cyrus wears three stunning outfits, the first being a vintage lamé dress by Yves Saint Laurent. The dress looks like liquid gold wrapped around her body and features a crop top with a matching hood and a long skirt. Many have speculated that the gold dress is a reference to the one Jennifer Lawrence wore to the 2012 premiere of "The Hunger Games" — it's rumored that Lawrence and Hemsworth had a fling while working together on the YA franchise. However, it should be noted that Cyrus and Hemsworth were on-again/off-again for a number of years, and their relationship status at the time of the off-camera kiss that Lawrence seemed to admit to during an interview with Andy Cohen is unknown.

From there, Cyrus moves onto a couple of outfits that scream revenge. "Two other outfits in the music video give off full-fledged 'New year, New Miley' vibes, including working out in a black La Perla Brigitta lingerie set," said CR Fashion Book. "Elsewhere, Cyrus plays up the Saint Laurent Le Smoking style dancing around the house in an androgynous satin lapel tuxedo look from the Maison's Fall/Winter 2022 collection."

Olivia Wilde at the People's Choice Awards in 2022

A headline-grabbing relationship between Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles began after they bonded on the set of her film "Don't Worry Darling," an insider told Us Weekly. "Harry and Olivia had chemistry almost instantaneously on set," they said. "It was only a matter of time before they got together." They became official two months after Wilde split from "Ted Lasso" star Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children. The new partners were spotted holding hands and looking very much in love, but the relationship wasn't to last.

In November 2022, sources close to the couple revealed that they had decided to take a break, and that quickly became a permanent separation. Wilde was "still very much upset about the breakup" a source confirmed to Us Weekly on December 8, but that didn't stop her from wearing a killer revenge dress. Just one day earlier, on December 7, Wilde arrived at the People's Choice Awards wearing a daring Dior dress with a sheer black skirt topped off with a chic belt. Social media users were quick to dub the see-through Dior showstopper a revenge dress.

Taylor Swift at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards

Taylor Swift loves leaving Easter eggs for fans in her outfits, but she really took it to the next level with her dress at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2022. Swift showed up in a stunning diamond mini dress by Oscar de la Renta, a look that was dubbed "flapper chic" by CNN. The dress was a major callback to her look at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, when Kanye West famously interrupted her acceptance speech after she won best female video. West's actions were widely criticized (pop star Pink reportedly got in his face about it behind the scenes on the evening of the ceremony) and it kickstarted a feud between the pair that would last for years.

In 2022, 13 years after West humiliated Swift in front of her peers and the whole world, she appeared to reference the incident by wearing a strikingly similar dress to the VMAs. Fans of the singer-songwriter were quick to praise the decision online. "13 years ago, today, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift when she received the award for Best Female Video," @blessedswifty said on Twitter. "13 years later, Taylor Swift is wearing her revenge and redemption dress." Another fan said (via the Mirror) that "the fact that she's wearing almost the same dress after 13 years [...] screams revenge."

Gisele Bündchen at the Vivara anniversary in 2022

Gisele Bündchen was devastated when her marriage to football star Tom Brady came to an end. They were together for 13 years, and when it fell apart, it felt like "the death of my dream," the Brazilian model told Vanity Fair. "It's tough because you imagine your life was going to be a certain way, and you did everything you could, you know?" At this point in the interview she was fighting back tears, according to the reporter. She added: "I believed in fairy tales when I was a kid. I think it's beautiful to believe in that. I mean, I'm so grateful I did."

Six weeks after her divorce was finalized, Bündchen made her first red carpet appearance as a newly single woman and she shimmered in gold. She seemed to be in high spirits, looking absolutely radiant at the 60th anniversary celebration of the jewelry brand Vivara in her home country. Her metallic gold dress featured a halter top with crisscross straps, a middle cutout, and a floor-length skirt. She wore her hair in a sleek ponytail and accessorized it with a matching gold clutch, a diamond statement necklace, and matching earrings.

Princess Diana at the Serpentine Gallery party in 1994

Revenge dresses became a thing after Princess Diana debuted a custom, off-the-shoulder black number at a Serpentine Gallery party in 1994. This was quite a bold move at the time considering most of Diana's looks were required to be very conservative under strict royal guidelines and also because black was reserved exclusively for funerals in the royal family. Official confirmation of Prince Charles being unfaithful came that very night (the royal couple were already separated at the time), but Diana's clearly intentional choice of attire made just as many headlines. "It became this quite symbolic moment where she chooses to wear black and it's representing a death of a marriage, the moving away from the Palace, and then the rebirth of this independent woman," Sidonie Roberts, associate costume designer and head buyer on Netflix's "The Crown," told Town & Country.

Diana's famous revenge dress actually wasn't made specifically for this event: She got it three years prior to the party. According to Christina Stambolian, the designer of this iconic black number, Diana felt the dress was "too daring" (per Reader's Digest) and she was too nervous to ever wear it –- until she found the perfect occasion, that is. The dress later sold for almost £40,000 at auction, bought by a Scottish woman who planned on using it to raise money for a children's charity via fashion shows. But this dress represented so much more than fashion — it was a stepping stone that allowed Diana to begin embracing her freedom from the royal family, showing the world that she wasn't going to let her failed marriage hold her back.